One of my favourite sports columnists is EPSN’s Bill Simmons, aka The Sports Guy. If you’ve got any interest in US sports (especially the NBA), pop culture (especially reality TV) or wrestling, then you should be reading (or listening to) Bill Simmons.
One of Bill’s gimmicks over the years has been to preview or review a sports event/season by using song lyrics or movie quotes to create a theme and point of comparison.
In my experience ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’, so I’m stealing Bill’s gimmick and using it to review some of Queensland’s destruction of NSW in the series deciding State of Origin match last night.
There’s no question that QLD has just got more firepower than NSW, which has been the case for the past six years. Man for man they’ve been stronger than the Blues in almost every category, most importantly in the halves, where the Thurston and Lockyer combination has dominated whoever stands before them.
Throughout this period of domination I’ve marveled at how effectively and efficiently JT and Locky have pulled the strings, leading the Cane Toads to crushing win after crushing win. Like puppet masters, totally in control of the storyline and the characters on stage.
So without further ado, here is my SOO III review inspired by Metallica:
Master of Puppets are pulling your strings,
Twisting your mind and smashing your dreams
(Master of Puppets from Master of Puppets (1986)
This is for JT and Lockyer, the most successfully halves combination in Origin history. Most New South Welshman would be excited by the thought of Locky retiring, until we realize that Cooper Cronk is his replacement, leaving the Maroons with the strongest halves combination again!!!
The Horsemen are drawing nearer
On leather steeds they ride
They come to take your life
(The Four Horsemen from Kill ‘Em All, 1983)
The monster QLD pack led by Petero Civoniceva and Matt Scott. Despite their Game 2 stumble, they showed that you need big boppers up front to lay the foundation for victory. It’s been the constant to success in league since the dawn of time. Sure the tactic of a mobile pack of second rowers parading as props worked for one game. But it’s a tough act to replicate. A light heavyweight might be able to win a few rounds against a heavyweight…but sooner a later a heavy blow will be struck and the little guys knees will buckle
Hear the cry of war, louder than before
With his sword in hand, to control the land
Crushing metal strikes, on this frightening night
Fall onto your knees,
And bow to the Phantom Lord
(Phantom Lord from Kill ‘Em All, 1983)
Darren Lockyer. For so long south of the border we’ve paid homage to only one Cane Toad, ‘The King’ Wally Lewis, for his performances in the toughest arena in league. If Wally is the King, Lockyer is the Phantom Lord. His ability to maintain such a high standard of play over such a long career is unsurpassed at Origin level
Take a look to the sky just before you die
It’s the last time you will
(For Whom the Bell Tolls from Ride the Lightning, 1984)
To all the NSW Blues, who stepped onto the sacred turf of Lang Park and were overwhelmed when presented with the chance to put an end to the five year rot. From the outset they looked overmatch and outclassed. To their credit they kept plugging away and kept some level of interest in the game. In reality though the game was up after 20 minutes
Steamroller action crushing all,
Victim is your name and you shall fall
(Damage Inc. from Master of Puppets, 1986)
Sam Thaiday, who steps up for State of Origin like no other player in recent time. For the Broncos he’s good. In a Maroon jersey he’s amazing. A cannonball in attack and a brick wall in defense
We’re off to find,
The hero of the day
(Hero of the Day, from Load, 1996)
To Ricky Stuart, who certainly restored some credibility following the past couple of series disappointments, but who is still searching for the player to lead NSW to the Promised Land
Braiding your soul with a hard luck story
Show your scars
Spilling you blood in a hot sun’s foray
Show your scars
Breaking your life broken, beat and scarred
But we die hard
(Broken, Beat and Scarred from Death Magnetic, 2008)
This could only be Paul Gallen. No player increased his profile and garnered more respect this series than Paul Gallen. Gallen did everything humanly possible to will NSW to victory, but just didn’t have the horses to run with him. A couple more of his type in the forward pack, especially the front row, and NSW might have a sniff at victory
Never see what he did
got stuck where he hid
Fallen through the grid
(Invisible Kid from St. Anger, 2003)
The invisible kid is Jarryd Hayne. Hayne (in my one eyed blue and gold biased opinion) is the most naturally gifted NSW player. There are stories about an attitude problem, which may be the case, but in terms of physical ability he really does stand head and shoulders above everyone else. Until you stick him out on the wing, or bring him one step in to centre. Hayne needs the ball to have an impact. Selectors take note